Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Game Project Log: Dr Nanotech 1

Here begins another entry and a new project in my ongoing development.

First up a bit about the Game Jam on FGL. Sadly I didn't place in the top 3 with my game prototype 'Escape from the Aquarium' however the experience as a whole along with the rapid prototyping of an idea through to working prototype I feel was an invaluable one. Looking at the entries that placed in the top three I feel that my game wasn't that far off. I think there were a few aspects that my game lacked namely multi browser support (the game only ran smoothly on Google Chrome) and there were a few polishing issues regarding jump / fall speed, I used boxed collision rather than pixel perfect and using the rope the animation and the transporting of the character could have been timed better to fit in with the animation.

I also feel that if I'd added a form of currency / upgrade system it would have also added to the game.

So things to work on / fix going forward and as I said a valuable learning experience nonetheless.

I stumbled upon the one game a month website where your challenge is to make a game a month... sounds like a lot of time but this is a full and complete game rather than a prototype you'd expect to find in a gamejam type event. It is also unlike the FGL's event where it's an endeavour to push yourself to produce something rather than aiming for a prize. It is also themed but your link in to the theme can be pretty loosely tied to it, June's theme is 'Doctor'

I'll be entering my first 1GAM this month and working on some ideas. Going to try something a bit different this time around and target android initially, it's a relatively simple matter to then port to HTML5 and IOS using gamemaker studio anyway.

I'm using Dr Nanotech as a running title for the game at the moment, but more to follow.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

That's it, game entered!

Well that's me finished my prototype game with a couple of hours to spare!!! I have a week's wait to find out if I won anything, but honestly the experience is probably worth it regardless of any prize.

I managed to complete 10 levels, implement a system where the pick-ups functioned as both lives and a fuel / timer, honestly this was something I'd not even considered doing before so working out the logic for it was an interesting experience. with the exception of the art assets here thanks to +Chris Hildenbrand the art work and animations were all created by myself, which considering I'm rubbish at art / drawing isn't too bad I think. My background music was sourced from the incomptech website thanks to +kmmusic.

You can have a play of the prototype game here.

I was linked an interesting article earlier on gamasutra about taking a game from gamejam to commercial release and while to an extent I agree with some parts of the article in that it takes time to develop the game to a full commercial release I believe that it can be done a bit quicker, especially if it's being worked on by a focused / dedicated small team, like we have here at Prickly. So with this in mind I intend to develop 'Escape from the aquarium' further as part of OGAM.

I'll go into a bit more detail and actually provide a bit more structure to my continued development of the game which will hopefully make for an interesting read.

I'm off to relax a bit now, enjoy the game prototype, any feedback is welcome including suggestions for additional content.

Thank you for your support this week, it has been invaluable!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Day 4, just over 24 hours to go!

Hi guys,

Thanks for sticking with me so far!

Well I'm practically on the last stretch, just over 24 hours to go and I think I've got a pretty solid chance of getting everything done on time.

I've been having a lot of issues with the compiler in gamemaker today to the point where it wont actually let me compile the game for windows and only in html5... which is kinda OK in that I need to submit the entry in html5 anyway and the compiler seems to be fine for that.. might just be a random glitch, I cant put my finger on why it would be fine for one and not the other but I don't really have the time to work out the issue at this point, I'm supposed to be rapid prototyping not working on gamemaker issues.

Not much to say really other than I'm down to my last few things to do on my list, I've managed to outline all of my levels today so just need to flesh these out a bit and ensure they are progressively challenging. I have sourced a few sound assets but have still to implement them into the game. I have a couple of optional animations to do and include them and their mechanics into the game but these are quick to do if I have the time. Other than that it's just a case of playtesting the game and making sure everything works after i'm done... I have been testing as I go but you often find random errors and bugs after implementing something new that you didn't have before... Gamemaker is a funny thing!!

Anyway here's a few screenies for your enjoyment and thanks for your support and sticking with me this week!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

47 hours to go....

Hi Guys,

If you've stuck with the blog so far this week you'll know that i'm just over half way through the GameJam and now have 47 hours left to submit my entry to the competition. A couple of entries have already been submitted however i'm confident I already have a better game and i'm not even close to being finished, tomorrow will be a long and busy day I feel.

Today i've spent a lot of time sorting out my assets so that they all match / fit in together correctly implemented the life system and also finished off the water blob and most of the game mechanic assets. In terms of mechanics left to create I have to source some sounds, create an old stone fireplace to act as an end of level goal, create a death animation for the flame encountering the water blob some kinda of animation to symbolise moving air currents, some basic water tiles and also an oil slick effect. It seems like a lot but some of them are tweaks of existing images and some are quite straightforward so I hope to be done by mid way through tomorrow. The benefit of spending a significant amount of time on the assets is that each level will be based off a tile-set meaning that new levels are easy to flesh out and I should be able to finish a level within the space of half an hour or less.

Once those are complete I can focus a bit on the story / introduction and then maybe look at implementing the FGL SDK.

I'll leave you with a couple of assets from today's activities to keep you interested!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Day 2 of the GameJam

It's been a long and productive day today both helped and hindered by dodgy net access at home today, not sure what's wrong but I've been able to work through and create a lot more assets for the game.

I have realised it would be a good idea to generate a 'to do list' so that I can start ticking things off and also see realistically what can be done in the time remaining I'll run through what I've been up to today and then at the end of the post list what remains to be done.

Today's efforts saw progress made in the form of new sprites and animations for the levels as well as the fleshing out of the story for the game. basically your a flame trapped in the dungeon of an evil watery blob. The dungeon is part of a structure called the 'Aquarium' and your job as a player is to guide the flame through the dungeons in order to escape. I'm initially aiming for 10 levels, the first of which is a tutorial / guide as to how the game plays and how the flame can interact with the environment (some objects are flammable and can be used to access new areas. A lot of the sprites and animations for interacting with the environment were produced today as well as the title screen, menu, and the first few levels have been outlined. Additionally the core of the levels will be generated using a tile set which is now in place meaning that the only real lengthy process in creating the levels is in the idea generation side of things, all the building blocks are ready to use.

Here's a sneak peek at the title screen, let me know what you think.

Things to focus on for completion are:

Finishing game assets,
Coding key game functionality outside of movement / collision,
Sourcing sounds,
Completing the remaining levels along with the tutorial level,
Updating blog with progress,

Things to include if I have free time:

Polish game assets,
Add additional 5 levels,
Implement FGL SDK,

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

And the theme is........

The theme was announced late last night (for me being UK based) and it is 'burning'. One of the key requirements for this competition is that the game be focused on the theme.

So far I've spent the first half of today mainly working on a game concept and assets in the form of sprites and working out what I want to do with the game. functionality / mechanics.

My initial thought process was to look at the key components of a flame, heat, fuel, oxygen and to somehow integrate these into my game. However time is of the essence and is rapidly ticking away so I felt that having multiple functionality with the pick ups and game controllers would fit in better than overloading the game with too many details making it overly complex and more likely to fail to meet the deadline.

To this end I have created a life / timer system based on the flame collecting kindling scattered throughout the levels, these represent the life of the flame and you collect more to keep playing each new kindling collected adds to the timer. There will be 3 sections to the timer which indicate how intense your flame is burning, the most intense flame being when you have lots of time / kindling remaining and the flame dying out when you have little time left.

Sections of the levels will require you to interact with obstacles such as ice walls which you will need to melt however doing so will remove part of your kindling giving the timer / kindling a two fold effect of being a game length controller and also a resource for the player to inadvertently use to progress through the levels.

My assets thus far are a player flame, and a generic small flame which will be left behind on flammable surfaces when the player moves over them.

I've also animated these somewhat simply but I think the effect is good enough for now, If I find myself with time to spare then I can go back and polish the graphics.

Monday, 26 May 2014

What happened, what's next?

Hello and welcome back to my game development oriented blog if your a regular reader and if your new welcome!

Initially i'd like to clarify where i've been the past week and why you've not seen my blog updates. Happily it is for good reasons, I took a week off to relocate and move in with my fiancée and set up my home office / work area. It took a while to get set up but i'm back on the work train and what better way to start off in my new environment than with a game jam!

FGL are running a week long gamejam starting tonight (4pm PST) first prize is :

1st Place -
  • $250
  • Mention in the Developer Newsletter
  • FGL Profile Badge
  • Guaranteed Entry to the Bidding Spotlight once the game is complete
  • Free Reviewer Video Impression on the game of your choice
  • 15 First Impression credits
  • 500 FGL community points
So this week will be slightly different to my usual blog entry in that I will document / blog my process once the theme has been announced. Further to the above, If I can work out how to include the FGL SDK into my game then I could be eligible for a further $200.

So I've kept this short and sweet as there will be a lot of blogging done this week.